I will show you tiny pieces of myself.
If you are patient and kind I may trust you.
I will open up boxes, take of lids that I often choose to keep closed.
There are places, memories
Where I began this journey.
Of people and things, Sounds and smells.
Pieces that make up my memories.
I have had loves, and sadness.
Hopes and fears.
Pieces of a jumbled old jigsaw puzzle.
Time and trust will show a clear picture.
Five decades that are my colourful life.
Still moving forward, growing, changing, always eagly learning.
Happy, sad, Hopeful joyous sometimes scared.
Running, skipping, walking slowly making
More memories to treasure.
Carved out. what you see before you
Multi-faceted many things
Altogether they are I.
Please do not judge a small piece.
For without the tiniest splinter
Who I have become would be incomplete
I would not be standing before you in this place here and now.
I can’t remember that last time I cried for myself, I’ve cried for other people but never for me, apart from when my granddaughter Tamika was born. Happiness of course. But before that I’m sure it was back in the dark ages before I came to Wales.
You see I’m always positive its just the way I am. Facebook status life in general I really do believe that there is always something positive in every situation. You just have to look.
I’ve been off work now since March after a sudden and completely unexpected collapse midnight on my birthday. I’d been walking my dog and cat, who by the way thinks he’s a dog down the canal for their walk.
I can’t really discribe what happened I just knew there was something very wrong.
Rang my hubby to come and get saffie as she couldn’t walk too fast.
Then hurried eight doors up to out cottage on the canal bank.
I made it too the bathroom where I got the worsed pain ever like being suddenly hit in centre of my he’d with a pick axe.
I thought this is it I’m going to die.
Sounds dramatic but I’m really not.
I really was that scared.
I lost my speech and couldn’t feel my left side.
Jeff came in picked me up, carried me into the car and within thirty mins I was in emergency room at Morriston hospital.
Pretty scary stuff as I never went to my G.P never took tablets, even had my children at home
So after being admitted I had lumber puncture, c.a.t scans, MRI, neurologists blood tests and transfared to three different wards and subjected to worsed hospital food a vegan could imagine
I was eventually discharged with a letter for my G.P a months sick note and a promise of a neurologist appointment within the month.
I was so relieved to leave still couldn’t walk so dragged my still numb left leg down the corridor ignoring Jeff’s plea’s to get in a wheel chair. (I may have swore at him)
I was and still am determined to sort myself out.
I admit thinking about it this was the universe kicking me up the arse to slow down
I had with hind sight missed a few warning signs vertigo, extremely painful joints, brain fog, pins and needles in my fingers and a weird sensation sort of crawling or dripping water under my skin on my back.
But as a lot of us do I blamed it on work..
Wrestling with wheelchair, or menopause, because let’s face it I’m 53 most things are down to the bloody menopause! Oh and the bed! I’ve had three new mattresses.
But now six months later still off work I’m not so sure.
I’m still waiting for my appointment.
I’ve agreed to take gabapentin and they do help slightly but there are mornings when I really struggle to get up and get downstairs.
The pain is horrendous.
My fingers are stiff, shoulders, hips and most other joints are beyond painful.the numbness is something else.
I use cannabis oil at night as otherwise I find lying on either side on my shoulders unbarable.
I accept it is something neurological I’m still having energy healing, relfexology and I’m thinking of taking up yoga anything to keep my muscles moving.
I will get better.
My worry is my job, I’m down to half pay, and if I’m honest I know I can’t go back and do the job I did. The occupational health doctor confirmed this last week. It’s one thing knowing it but having someone else tell you is different.
I have now gone into panic mode.
Shall I open a vegan cafe? I could do dog walking, pop up restaurant?
I have never NOT worked. I’ve always supported my family.
This is my weak link. I am still positive about things. I really am.
But I’m scared. What is it your trying to tell me universe I really am listening!
This morning lying in bed beside my hubby jeff sun streaming through the window his big arms around my I lay there head on his chest listening to his heart.
He talked about building a healing & therapies room we had planned for me to work from just behind the cottage.
‘I don’t want you doing it all yourself I said. Digging foundations when the weather goes cold.’ .
He tightens his arms around me and tells me to stop worrying. ‘This isn’t like you.’ He’s right it isn’t
‘we lead a very simple life I don’t want posh holidays never had credit cards I wear charity shop clothes happily. But keeping the car on the road paying bills and food in the cupbords are important. So yes the first time me not being independent paying my way is scary.
Shhhh he says.. ‘I’ll look after you.’
And that was it. Catalyst.
Four words that broke the dam. I cried I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me before.
‘Ill look after you’
I’ve looked after myself from being a kid anyway and everyway. .
So I know I’ll get better.
Maybe I won’t be able to stay in my current job but I’ll find a way to do something else I love.
Maybe that will be working from home in my new Healing room who knows what the universe has in store but I’m listening.
But I do know those four little words were said at just the right time, right place by just the right person. I love him my beautiful shy Welshman.
I’ll look after him too
Twenty two years since my mam died. I was 31 I had three young children youngest one Mike was five
I had arranged to go down to see Mam after school to see if she felt up to going to spiritualist church there was a medium she had hoped to see but I’d been busy digging up hedges in our front garden all day. So I thought I’d go back finish cleaning the mess I’d made up then go down to Mam with the kids washed clean ready for church.
The last bush was really stubborn, so I tied a rope onto the back of my car and tried to yank it out but as I’m doing it I can hear my mam tutting at me.
‘You should have been a bloody lad’ she says.
I laugh stop the car dragging the hedge behind.
Odd? She’s not there.
I get out to untie the rope I’m covered in soil and leaves as I get up Mams best friend Francis is pulling up in her car.
I know instantly. ‘Mam she’s gone’. Francis is sitting in the passenger seat her husband is driving tears roll down her cheeks she doesn’t answer she doesn’t have to.
‘Without me there’ I shout voice shaking.
I tell the kids to go inside no one speaks.
I ask a neighbour to babysit. It’s a weird feeling, Shock, sort of like being underwater and everything seems to slow down.
Suddenly it’s like your whole world is in a bubble,surreal.
I get into Francis car she holds my hand.
‘It was your dad’ she’s saying. I flush hot, my head feels like its going to explode.
I don’t cry.
Francis talks on the drive over to Mams, only the other side of the village but I’m impatient to get there.
‘Get your mams trolley’ Francis insists she keeps saying it.
‘She told me to tell you if anything happens get the trolley’.
I still don’t speak.
I walk through the corridors in the sheltered housing into the flat.
There is blood on her carpet. ‘Bicarb’ I hear mam say tutting again. ‘Bicarb will get it out’.
Dad is sitting smoking a roll up in the kitchen.
I stand and look at him.
I don’t know for how long.
Francis pulls at my arm. ‘Get the trolley.’
‘For fucks sake’ I hear myself say. ‘Okay. Okay I’ll get it.’
I look around pictures of my children hang on the walls, Mams cardigan where she had left it on her favourite chair.
Without looking I know there will be a blue inhaler in the pocket and a packet of tissues and a lipstick of bloody awful tangerine she insisted ordering monthly from Avon.
I pick it up and hold it to my face and breath in I can smell her perfume.
I put it over the bloody trolley.
‘Where is she?’ I ask. My voice sounds different. Like its external.
‘I told her she’d go out of here in a bloody box’ Dad says. I want to kill him.
I close my eyes. Slowly breathe in.
‘At the hospital’ says Francis.
‘Come on Joolz you need to identify her.’
We leave the flat and head for the hospital. I’m numb.
How do my legs still know how to walk?
Why are clocks still ticking?
Why is the world still turning? MY MAM IS DEAD.
We get to Whiston Hospital sit in waiting room Francis is smoothing creases that aren’t there from her skirt. I read the information on the wall bereavement support. Victim support. We wait for the police.
A tall young police officer and a smaller female officer walk in I can hear Mam again. telling me ‘Police men are getting bloody younger and look at the state of you she saying you need a good bloody wash. Full of soil!’
‘Are you ready’ the lady police officer asksshe’s got a stain on her jacket and I wonder what it is?
I nod. My mouth has gone dry. I can’t speak.
I’m not ready I will never be ready that big black lump is in my throat. I’m so afraid. It can’t be her not my little Mam and I’m praying this is all a bad dream.
They take me in.
She’s on a metal trolley
She will be cold on there I think.
Her hair is stuck with blood. Drying blood.
I want to fix it.
Her hands are covered she’s not wearing her glasses I put my hands on her face. ‘Oh Mam’ I say
The policewoman puts his hand on my shoulder.
I shrug her off.
I pull the sheet back lift up her left hand. Middle nail cracked it always grown like that.
I hear mam beside me telling me the story of how her sister Eliza trapped it in the front door in Brown street. Where she lived as a childI’ve heard this story a million times but I smile and listen again
‘I know mam’ I hear myself say.
She looks so small. ‘I’m so sorry I was late Mam I was pulling up the hedge in the front you hated those hedges didn’t you. Couldn’t get the last one up. I was coming to fetch you with the kids I’ve made your favourite for tea and Michaels got a new reading book.’
‘That medium is on later at church the one you wanted to see.’ Im almost begging.
My little mam. Doesn’t answer. It really is her. How can I possibly leave her here on her own?
I cover her up. The police woman holds me up. ‘Come on’ she says ‘they will look after her.’
I don’t remember walking back to the car or the drive home.
We sit outside Francis tells me there was a massive row dad was drunk again. She sighs ‘He was always drunk’ I sob.
Mam had said he couldn’t make any more home brew in the flat he was repeating everything she said. Mimicking her
Shooting at her with a toy gun that made a noise.
She was on her nebuliser.
Struggling to breathe
She stood up told him to get out was going to ring me. She didn’t get to the phone.
She has massive heart attack hit her head on coffee table
He might as well have had a real gun.
‘Take me to the flat’ I finally said.
‘You’ve got the trolley Francis said don’t go back ‘she sounded scared.
I ring our Michaels dad Mike.
‘Come and get me I’m at the hospital’
Ten mins later Mams trolley in the boot of Mikes car andI’m going back to the sheltered housing.
‘What the fuck happened?’ Mike asks. I tell him. He doesn’t speak.
‘What are you going to do?’
‘I don’t know.’ I answer. ‘But I’m not scared of him anymore I’m furious.’
We walk down the corridor I count our footsteps. I hear my mam.
‘Go home Julie to the kids’ she says.
‘I will in a minute I say out loud,’ Fab I think I’m talking to my bloody self.
I walk into the flat we’ve been gone two hours tops.
Dad is in the bedroom Mams single bed tipped up on its end drawers tipped everywhere clothes strewn everywhere. I stand looking at him.
There’s a banging noise in my head. It’s my heart.
He’s opening boxes looking in pockets of coats.
There is a new toaster and a kettle still in boxes she was planning to leave him.
It’s as though I’m not here I think.‘Can he see me’?
Mikes got hold of my arm.
Dad looks up.
‘Where is it?’ he shouts at me.
I don’t answer or move I stand in the bedroom doorway.
‘Sovereign rings, money, rings jewellery bank books.?’
‘I don’t know I say?’ And I really don’t.
‘She’s dead Mams dead.’ I shout.
He walks over to me.
‘WHERE IS IT ALL?’ he booms.
I feel the spit and beer breath hit my face.
I don’t move or step back he’s furious.
‘TELL ME NOW.’
He lifts his hand as he’s done so many times.
I still don’t move.
Everything slows down.
Mike jumps between us.
Grabs dads big arm and says
‘You’re never going to put your hand on her again.’
I look at dad he suddenly doesn’t look as big or scary.
‘Don’t ever, come near me again’ I hear myself say.
I’m picking up mams best jumper.
I pick up a bag put her clothes and shoes in.
Dad looks confused.
I start to take my children’s photos off the wall.
‘What are you doing?’ he shouts.
‘I’m taking back what’s mine.’
‘You don’t get to look at my kids again.’
‘Do not come to the funeral she didn’t want you there.’
Are you happy now you killed her?
I wish she’d have just left you years ago we’d have all been better off you murdering drunken bastard.’
I hear mam laugh.
He sits down hard on the floor.
‘I’m going to a solicitor ‘he shouts ‘I want what’s mine.’
I look at him lean forward and say quietly almost a whisper.
‘I want my mam my kids want their Nan.’
Mike puts his hand on my arm ‘Come on Joolz he’s not worth it.’
He takes mams clothes I carry the photos and we leave.
Francis is getting out of the car it’s a warm evening and Mam should be getting in my car with me now.